Review Article

The Reasons for Higher Mortality Rate in Opium Addicted Patients with COVID-19: A Narrative Review


The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused COVID-19 has developed into an unexampled worldwide pandemic. The most important cause of death in patients with COVID-19 is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Opium is widely used for its analgesic features in control of acute and chronic pain related to different diseases. Opium consumption is increased over the last three decades and leads to adverse effects on the respiratory system; opium also affects the lungs' functions and respiration. The contemplative issue is the higher mortality rate due to SARS-CoV-2 infection in opium addicts’ patients. Studies have shown that despite the decrease in proinflammatory cytokines production in opium addicts, there are at least 4 reasons for this increase in mortality rate: downregulation of IFNs expression, development of pulmonary edema, increase thrombotic factors, increase the expression of Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Therefore, identifying the causes of mortality and approved therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 patients who use opium for any reason is an important unmet need to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection-related mortality. This review study demonstrated the effects of opium on immune responses and the reasons for the higher mortality rate in opium addicts’ patients with COVID-19.

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IssueVol 50 No 3 (2021) QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Opium Cytokine storm COVID-19 IFNs

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DOLATI-SOMARIN A, ABD-NIKFARJAM B. The Reasons for Higher Mortality Rate in Opium Addicted Patients with COVID-19: A Narrative Review. Iran J Public Health. 2021;50(3):470-479.